Purgatory Online

Thursday, June 09, 2005

After last night's 8-4 win over the Braves, the Angels find themselves a game ahead of Texas despite having gone just 4-5 on their current road trip. Considering that Guerrero's presence during the upcoming Mets series is looking more and more likely, and also considering that the offense has noticably started to pick up, I'm cautiously optimistic.

Angels in April - .259/.306/.408, 41.5 AB/HR, 4.45 RC/27
May - .245/.300/.371, 42.4 AB/HR, 3.59 RC/27
June - .319/.384/.469, 43.3 AB/HR, 6.60 RC/27

Finally, the Angels are starting to hit like themselves. Although the homers per at-bat have stayed fairly consistent, the line drives are starting to find holes - and the HR/AB number will come down once Guerrero is off the DL.

The news is especially good when one considers that one of the primary instruments of the upsurge is young master McP:

Dallas McPherson, June - .320/.370/.640 (25 AB).

I've mentioned it before, but McPherson just plain looks a lot more comfortable at the plate these days. He will still occasionally chase balls he has no business swinging at, but he's been showing a much greater tendency to wait for a pitch he can drive. He hasn't necessarily been seeing more pitches, but he's been getting into better counts early in his at-bats, forcing pitchers to come across the plate more, and we're finally getting a taste of that talent we've been told about for so long.

Who else has blown up big in June? Nearly everyone:

Erstad: .344/.417/.344 (32 AB)
Figgins: .344/.400/.594 (32 AB)
Anderson: .355/.375/.548 (31 AB)
Kennedy: .520/.600/.640 (25 AB)
B. Molina: .348/.385/.652 (23 AB)

Anderson and Molina, of course, have been pretty productive all year.

For the record, here are the starting pitchers the Angels have faced in June:

Jose Contreras, CWS
David Wells, BOS
Bronson Arroyo, BOS
Wade Miller, BOS
John Smoltz, ATL
Horacio Ramirez, ATL
Tim Hudson, ATL

Not a bad cross-section of Major League pitching.

Unfortunately, last night's game also brought us the news that Kelvim Escobar's bone spur is not to be ignored. After leaving with swelling and pain that he describes as the same as that which put him on the DL three weeks ago, it seems inevitable that Escobar will have to undergo surgery to shave off the bone spurs, which will sideline him for the next two months. This isn't catastrophic, necessarily - an early August return is in plenty of time to help the team - but it does deprive the team of its most consistent starter over the past year and a half.

And, of course, it very likely means an extended look at Ervin Santana, who had one miserable start and one brilliant one a month ago. Since that time, Santana has held his own at Triple-A Salt Lake, starting two games, surrendering 12 hits in 12.1 innings, compiling a 3.65 ERA (in what should be noted is a hitter's league), and getting no decisions. His most recent start came on June 3, so he should be scheduled to pitch tonight. Chances are he'll be limited to 70 pitches or so, and we'll see Escobar placed on the DL and Santana called up tomorrow. That would put him into Escobar's slot in the rotation perfectly, which comes around again on the 14th against Washington.

Meanwhile, the Angels should either put DaVanon on the DL or send Kotchman back to Salt Lake to make room for Guerrero. I suspect it will be the former, but really don't much care. My real question is how often the Angels are going to continue playing Juan Rivera, but I think I'll save that one for later.